Four Top Content Marketing Strategies
by Phil Britt
Content marketing has become an essential element of the marketing mix for most successful companies. But simply offering content will result in subpar results. Before producing content, companies need a solid content marketing strategy. Here are best practices recommended by veteran marketers.
USE PILLAR PAGES
“When it comes to content strategy, topic clusters centered around pillar pages are a can’t-miss way to develop a strategy that helps you rank and is focused on the key topics that are most relevant to your ideal audience,” says Mackenzie Deater, content strategist for Evenbound. A content strategy that’s based on topic clusters prioritizes a few key topics that are great for SEO, but are also relevant to the company’s ideal audience.
“For example, let’s say you’re a countertop supplier that specializes in granite. ‘Granite countertops’ is a key phrase that’s highly searched and is relevant to that granite countertop company,” Deater explains. To develop a topic cluster content strategy that’s focused around this key phrase, develop a pillar page that teaches average homeowners everything they need to know about granite countertops. This pillar page might talk about granite countertop styles, color profiles, and how granite countertops are made.
Then, create individual blog posts that are relevant to and support the content in that pillar page. They might include topics such as 10 benefits of a granite countertop or how to remodel your kitchen with granite countertops. Each of these posts will link back to the pillar page, Deater notes.
As your posts start to gain traction, they push that authority to the pillar page as well. Since the content strategy is linked together and hyper-focused on the topics that are most relevant to your ideal audience, you’ll not only start to see an increase in your search engine result pages placement, but also an increase in the qualified leads coming to the site.
DEVELOP EVERGREEN, REUSABLE CONTENT
“The best practice for an exceptional content strategy is repurposing evergreen content. Repurposing content is the reuse of content that you already created and distributing it on as many platforms as possible. You are creating different versions of the content for each platform and reaching multiple audiences,” says Laura L. Bernhard, founder and host of The No Formula Podcast.
For example, a post titled “Top 5 Ways to Build Your Email Newsletter List” will stay relevant as long as the tips are still valid. People will always want to build their newsletter list. As a result, you can promote the content until it is no longer applicable. “The research, time, and energy it takes to create a piece of content is reason enough to reuse it over and over and over again,” Bernhard says. “Just make sure to write evergreen content.”
RESEARCH FIRST, WRITE SECOND
Allied Payments uses content marketing as the primary way of attracting online attention to the business, says Cris Carillo, the company’s co-founder and marketing manager. “Developing relevant and well-thought-out pages is essential for creating a successful content strategy,” Carillo says. “For each page and blog post written, we spend about as much time researching and planning the article as writing it. This process has helped prevent us from writing content that does not rank or otherwise attract attention.”
For Allied Payments, researching an article means creating a list of keywords and other frequently searched terms for each of the company’s topics. The highest-volume keywords are separated into potential article topics, while relevant keywords for each topic are determined. These relevant keywords are used to answer questions and create different sections within the article’s content. Having a piece of content that answers specific questions using a variety of keywords can help boost the authority of that article.
Another way content is produced is by looking at work that is currently trending for similar websites, Carillo says. “Knowing what pages are driving traffic, we can create similar topic pages using keywords from our prior research. This strategy for content is one of the best because writers will know before they even start that the article topic is already receiving traffic.”
Planning the content is also very important, Carillo notes. “By providing the writers with a structured framework, we know that the articles will be on topic and the content properly optimized. With a title, a number of questions to answer, and a list of keywords to use, writers will rarely go off topic or lose focus. For us, this has helped keep our content-creating costs down because we make sure each article is on topic and optimized with the best possible keywords.”
NEXT STEPS AFTER PUBLISHING CONTENT
Saurabh Jindal, founder of Talk Travel, says there are a couple of important strategies to use once content is published:
• Establish a sturdy, solid on-site SEO for the product or service. This includes proper title tags for posts/pages, crawlability enablement for various search engines (including the sitemap), content with proper formatting and keywords, page speed, images with descriptions, tags, etc.
• Build strong, local links to the site—get backlinks and reviews from reputed websites. Backlinks help in improving the domain authority of the website and thus help in higher ranking. The site will also benefit from referral traffic.